Greenwald, G. (2014). No Place to Hide.

A list of quotes documenting the findings by Glenn Greenwald from his interviews with Edward Snowden and others. The book details the extent of the surveillance being undertaken in the U.S., the lack of oversight for the process, the constitutional violation of different administrations, and the wider threat the mass monitoring presents to the idea of a free and open society.

The book is an enlightening read, especially into the tactics of the surveillance agencies and the ruthless characters that operate within them. Going into detail of how surveillance agencies blackmail targets using their associations, how they win over the trust of targets, and how they utilise an individual’s internet history – including but not limited to a person’s choice in pornography- to ensure total obedience. 

Most interesting aspect of the book, however, is the danger the surveillance presents to the culture of dissent. Greenwald uses study after study to document how surveillance causes people to align their opinion with those in positions of power. If people become aware of being monitored, it is likely to cause correct but confrontational positions to be silenced through self-censoring, blackmail, and other coercive means.

Total surveillance with be a total nightmare. The book does an excellent job of portraying this message and gives details of how the world population is sleepwalking into this situation. 

As always, the comments within the square brackets [ ] are not the authors word but additional information to clarify context.

Greenwald, G. (2014). No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State. Metropolitan Books.

… history had shown us that the mere existence of mass surveillance apparatus, regardless of how it is used, is in itself sufficient to stifle dissent. A citizenry that is aware of always being watched quickly becomes a compliant and fearful one. 3

… mass surveillance is the temptation for nay unscrupulous power. And in every instance, the motive is the same: suppressing dissent and mandating compliance. 4

[Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court] Ordered Verizon to turn over to the NSA “all call details records” for “communications (i) between the United States and abroad; and (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.” 27

{FISA] Court order specified that the bulk collection of American telephone records was authorised by Section 215 of the Patriot Act. 28

Obama administrations senior national security official, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, lied to Congress when, on March 12, 2013, he was asked by Senator Ron Wyden: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on the millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”, Clapper reply was as succinct as it was dishonest: “No, sir.” 30

I have given many speeches about how surveillance changes human behaviour, highlighting studies showing that people who know they are being watched are more confined, more cautious about what they say, less free. 38

[CIA recruited a Swiss banker to provide confidential information] the recruitment effort ultimately failed. “They destroyed the targets life for something that did even work out, and simply walked away”, [Snowden said]. 42

[Snowden said] “I could watch drones in real time as they surveilled the people they might kill. You could watch entire villages and see what everyone was doing. I watched NSA tracking peoples Internet activities as they typed… I realised the true breadth of this system. And almost nobody knew it was happening”. 43

[Snowden] “the true measurement of a person worth isn’t what they say they believe in, but what they do in defence of those beliefs… if you are not acting on your beliefs, then they probably aren’t real’”. 45

[Snowden] “what keeps a person passive and compliant is fear of repercussions, but once you let go of your attachment to things that don’t ultimately matter -money, career, physical safety – you can overcome that fear”. 46

Obama administration has prosecuted more government leakers under the Espionage Act of 1917 – a total of seven – than all previous administrations combined: in fact, more than doubled up total. The Espionage Act was adopted during World War I to enable Woodrow Wilson to criminalise dissent against the war, and its sanctions are severe: they include life in prison and even the death penalty. 50

Exclusive scoops on top secret documents uniquely elevate a publication status and empowers the journalist who breaks the news. It makes much more sense to give such scoops to independent journalists and media organisations, and thereby amplifying devices, raising their profile, and maximising their impact. 54

They use what the posts on media columnist, Erik Wemple, derides as middle-of-the-road-ese: never saying anything definitive but instead vesting with equal credence the governments defences and the actual facts, all of which have the effect of diluting revelations to a muddled, incoherent, often in consequential mess. 55

Obama Justice Department had obtained a court order to read through the emails and telephone records of reporters and editors from the Associated Press to find their source for a story. 60

NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily. 70

[ NSA records show they collected 97 billion emails, 124 billion phone calls from around the world in just 30 days]. 92

The US government had built a system that has as its goal in the complete elimination of electronic privacy worldwide. 94

[The Guardian reported, based on Snowdens documents] “the US government has paid at least 100,000,000 to the UK spy agency GCHQ over the last three years to secure access to and influence over Britain’s intelligence gathering programs”. 118

The GCHQ has also conducted mass interception of communications data from the worlds underwater fibre-optic cables. Under the program named Tempora, the GCHQ developed the “ability to tap into and store huge findings of data drawn from fibre-optic cables for up to 30 days so that it can be sifted and analysed… GCHQ and the NSA are consequently able to access an process vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people.” [The Guardian] 119

The intercepted data encompass all forms of online activity, including “recording of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on Facebook, and the history of any Internet users access to websites.” 119

FISA court lacks virtually every attribute of what our society generally understands as the minimal elements of a justice system. It meets incomplete secrecy; only one party–the government –is permitted to attend the hearings and make its case; and the court’s rulings are automatically designated “Top secret.”128

[in 2011 the government made 205 surveillance requests to and the F I S A court. None were rejected. In fact, no requests for surveillance has been rejected since 2005]. 129

[Dianne Feinstein who is exercising primary oversight over the NSA, her husband has major stakes in various military contracts]. 131

Meta data would likewise unmask a conversation between a human rights activist and the informant in repressive regime, or are confidential source calling a journalist to reveal high-level wrongdoing. And if you frequently call someone later night who is not your spouse, the meta data would revealed that, too. What’s more, it will record not only all the people with whom you communicate how often, but also all the people with whom your friend and associate communicate, creating a comprehensive picture of your network of contacts. 134

For years, the US government loudly warned the world that Chinese routers and other Internet devices pose a “threat” because they are built with backdoor surveillance functionality don’t give the Chinese government the ability to spy on anyone using them. Yet what do NSA documents show is that Americans have been engaged in precisely the activity and that the United States accused the Chinese of doing. 147

The constant accusations became such a burden that Ren Zhengfei, the 69-year-old founder and CEO of Huawei, announced in November 2013 that the company was abandoning the US market. 148

It is quite possible that Chinese firms are planting surveillance mechanisms in the network devices. But the United States is certainly doing the same. 151

[NSA document reveals] “Collection is outpacing liability to ingest, process and store to the “norms” to which we have become accustomed.” 151

The Internet has long been heralded as an unprecedented instrument of democratisation and the liberalisation, even emancipation. But in the eyes of the US government, this global network and other types of communications technology threaten to undermine American power… it is vital that NSA Monitor all parts of the Internet and any other means of communications, so that none can escape US government control. 169

When the United States is able to know everything that everyone is doing, saying, thinking, and planning–it’s own citizens, foreign populations, International corporations, our government leaders in–its power over those factions is maximised. That is doubly true if the government operates at ever greater levels of secrecy. The secrecy creates a one-way mirror: the US government sees what everyone else in the world does, including its on population, well no one sees its own actions. 169

The US government itself has used extreme measures to shield its actions from public view, erecting and ever higher wall of security behind which it operates. As a 2011 reporter from the ACLU argued, “today much of our governments business is conducted in secret”. 171

Mark Zuckerberg purchased the four homes adjacent to his own in Palo Alto, at a cost of 30 million, to ensure his privacy. 171

We all instinctively understand that the private realm is where we can act, think, speak, write, experiment, and choose how to be, away from the judgemental to eyes of others. Privacy is a core condition of being a free person. 172

[the effect of surveillance would-be] compliance, obedience, and conformity with expectations. 175

The response to the Occupy movement was to crush it with force, through tear gas, pepper spray, and prosecution. The para-militarisation of domestic police force was on full display in American cities, as police officers brought out weapons seen on the streets of Baghdad to quell legally assembled and largely peaceful protesters. 177

[Study conducted on the effect of monitoring/surveillance shows] Only 44% of subject under surveillance advocated for legalisation, compared to 77% of those not so “threatened”. Tellingly, 31% of the participants being monitored sought approval from the researcher, whereas only 7% of the other group did so. 180

One study found that rowdiness in Swedish soccer stadiums declined by 65% after the introduction of security cameras. And public health literature on hand washing has repeatedly confirmed that the way t to increase the likelihood of someone washing his or her hands is to put someone nearby. 180

[Barton Gellman said] Privacy is relational. It depends on your audience. You don’t want your employer to know you’re jobhunting. You don’t spill all about your love life to your mum or your kids. You don’t tell trade secrets to your rivals… Among upstanding citizens, researchers are consistently found that lying is “and everyday social interaction” (twice a day among college students, once a day in the real-world) … Comprehensive transparency is a nightmare…. Everyone has something to hide. 182

[socialist, communist, anti-war protesters] The bureau had infiltrated them with agents who, among other things, attempted to manipulate members into agreeing to commit criminal acts so that the FBI could arrest and prosecute them. 184

In the bureau also use the wiretapping to discover vulnerabilities, such as a sexual activity, which were then deployed to “neutralise” their targets. 185

… a state Will reflexively view any challenge to its power as wrongdoing. 186

The release of the Snowden documents “is designed to influence a government and is for the purpose of promoting a political cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism.” This is the clearest possible statement of linking threat to the interests of power to terrorism. 186

[NSA] among the information collected about the individuals, at least one of whom is a “US person,” are details of their online sex activities and “online promiscuity” – the porn site and that they visit and surreptitious sex chat with women whom are not their wives. The agency discusses ways to exploit this information to destroy their reputations and credibility. 187

In the United States, it is the NAACP leaders, Communist, and civil rights and anti-war activists who were targeted with Hoovers surveillance, not all well-behaved citizens who stayed new about social injustice. 196

New York magazine revealed from 2000 to 2009, the “ sneak and peek” provision of the act (licensed to execute a search warrant without immediately informing the target) was used in 1,618 drug related cases, 122 cases connected with fraud, and just 15 that involved terrorism. 200

[Frank Church in interview with Meet the Press said] “If the government ever became tyrant… the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and did there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance… is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capacity of this technology.” 201

Given the actual surveillance and then NSA does, stopping terror is clearly a pretext. 202

In December 2013, in an article headlined “Officials’ Defences of NSA Phone Program May Be Unravelling,” a federal judge declared the phone metadata collection program “almost certainly” unconstitutional, in the process saying that the Justice Department failed to “cite a single case in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent terrorist attack.” 202

John Mueller, and Ohio State University professor who is written extensively about the balance between threat and expenditures in fighting terrorism, explained in 2011: “the number of people worldwide who are killed by Muslim-type terrorists, Al-Qaeda wannabes, is maybe a few hundred outsider of a war zones. It is basically the same number of people who die drowning in the bath tub each year.” 205

[the annual risk of dying in a domestic terrorist attack is about 1 in 3.5 million]. 206

Fear mongering is a favoured tactic by authorities precisely because fear persuasively rationalises an expansion of power and curtailment of rights. 208

Democracy requires accountability and consent of the governed, which is only possible if the citizens know what is being done in their name. 209

Transparency is for those who carry a public duties and exercise public power. Privacy is for everyone else. 209

Discrediting the messenger as a misfit to discredit the message is an old ploy when it comes to whistle blowing, and it often works. 211

And there are both formal and unwritten legal protections offered to journalists and are unavailable to anyone else. 213

Snowden was determined to disappear from sight, as he said, to do no interviews. He understood that the media would love to personalise every story, and he wanted to keep the focus on NSA surveillance, not on him. 222

Ellsberg understood it clearly: people do not want to be associated with someone who has been discredited or publicly humiliated. 226

When dissidents are cost out of society and demeaned as emotionally imbalanced, others are given a strong incentive not to become one. 227

Obedience to authority is implicitly deemed the natural state. 228

In the face of severe injustice, a refusal to dissent is the sign of a character flaw or moral failure. 228

With the accusation of media companies by the world largest corporations, most media stars are highly paid employees of conglomerates, no different than other such employees. Instead of selling banking services or financial instruments, they peddle media product to the public on behalf of that corporation. 233

Many of the influential journalists in the United States are now multimillionaires. They live in the same neighbourhood as the political and financial elites over which they ostensibly serve as watchdogs. The attend the same functions, they have the same circle of friends and associates, their children go to the same elite private schools. 235

In the 1970, the reporter who first uncovered and then reported on the existence of GCHQ, Duncan Campbell, was arrested and prosecuted. 238

The GCHQ demanded that the Guardian turn over all copies of the archive. 239 [The Guardian later agreed to destroy the hard drive in the presence of the GCHQ staff ].

Voluntarily complying in secret is to enable the government to conceal its true character from the world: a state that thuggishly stops journalists from reporting on one of the most significant stories in the public interest. 240